National Honor Society

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The National Honor Society (N.H.S.) was founded in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) both to recognize and to encourage scholarship, character, service and leadership in the nation's secondary school students. Membership in local chapters of the N.H.S. is not a right but is an honor bestowed upon a student based on his or her actual demonstration of all four of these characteristics. Moreover, once named to the Society, a student has a continuing responsibility to demonstrate excellence in these areas.

At Immaculate, candidates to the Saint Thomas Aquinas Chapter of the N.H.S. must be juniors or seniors who have maintained a 3.500 cumulative grade point average and they must have attended I.H.S. for a minimum of one semester in order to be invited to provide the five members of the Faculty Council with information about how they have demonstrated excellence in the other three areas. Their invitation to submit data on Student Activity Information Forms will be made shortly after class ranks have become available. It should be noted that the chapter adviser is an additional but non-voting member of the Council.

In addition to the information supplied by the students, all faculty and staff members who interact with students have the opportunity to provide the Council with their assessment of the degree to which candidates meet the criteria of membership. Faculty ratings and comments are a guide to the Faculty Council in making its decisions. In the event of a candidate's receiving a low rating, the Council verifies the reasons for the rating with the rater before making its decision.

When the Council has finished its deliberations, both selected and non-selected students will be notified of their status. Non-selected students will be invited by the adviser to discuss privately the area or areas in which the Council determined they did not meet or could not be judged to have met the standards for membership. It is particularly valuable for non-selected juniors to take advantage of this opportunity to learn what the Council recommends before they are again eligible on the basis of their scholarship at the beginning of their senior year.


Late September: Based on their cumulative GPA, qualifying candidates receive their Student Activity Forms

Mid-October: Student Activity Forms and additional materials are due.

Early November: The Faculty Council makes its determinations.

Mid November: Both selected and non-selected students are notified of their status. Non-selected students will be invited to confer with the adviser about the Council's decision and recommendations.

Early December: New members are inducted.

Below are items adapted from the descriptions of Leadership, Service and Character which can be found on pp. 27-29 of the fifteenth edition of The National Honor Society Handbook.

NHS Criteria

Leadership- a highly important criterion. Leadership roles in both the school and community are considered provided they can be verified.  The Faculty Council is interested in a student's leadership of adults and peers.  The student who exercises leadership:

  • Is resourceful in proposing new programs, applying principles, and making suggestions.
  • Demonstrates leadership in promoting school activities.
  • Exercises positive influence on peers in upholding school ideals.
  • Contributes ideas that improve the civic life of the school.
  • Is able to delegate responsibilities.
  • Exemplifies positive attitudes.
  • Inspires positive behavior in others.
  • Demonstrates academic initiative.
  • Successfully holds school offices or positions of responsibility; conducts business efficiently and effectively; demonstrates reliability and dependability.
  • Demonstrates leadership in the classroom, at work, and in school or community activities.
  • Is thoroughly dependable in any responsibilities accepted.
  • Is willing to uphold scholarship and maintain a loyal school attitude.

Service- at least 75 hours (juniors) or 100 hours (seniors) of documented, voluntary, unpaid service for school and/or community. The criterion of service is often defined in terms of value of contributions.  The student who serves:

  • Volunteers and provides dependable and well-organized assistance, is gladly available, and is willing to sacrifice to offer assistance.
  • Works well with others and is willing to take on difficult or inconspicuous responsibilities.
  • Cheerfully and enthusiastically renders any requested service to the school.
  • Does committee and staff work without complaint.
  • Participates in outside volunteer activities (e.g. Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, church groups, or volunteer services for the aged, poor, or disadvantaged)
  • Mentors persons in the community or students at other schools.
  • Shows courtesy by assisting visitors, teachers, and students.

Character-The National Honor Society is a member of the Character Counts! Coalition.  Through this activity, the society supports and recommends the use of a multifaceted definition of character known as the “Six Pillars of Character.”  A person of character demonstrates the following six qualities:  respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship.  In addition, it can also be said that the student of character:

  • Takes criticism willingly and accepts recommendations graciously.
  • Consistently exemplifies desirable qualities of behavior (cheerfulness, friendliness, poise, stability, and unpretentiousness).
  • Upholds principles of morality and ethics in school and community.
  • Cooperates by complying with school regulations concerning property, dress, programs, office, halls, etc.
  • Demonstrates the highest standards of honesty and reliability.
  • Regularly shows courtesy, concern and respect for others.
  • Observes instructions and rules, is punctual, and faithful both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Has powers of concentration, self-discipline, and sustained attention as shown by perseverance and application to studies.
  • Manifests truthfulness in acknowledging obedience to rules, is not guilty of cheating or plagiarizing in any written work, and shows unwillingness to profit from the mistakes of others.
  • Actively helps rid the school of bad influences or environment.